It is time to actually create the document organizer.
Do not overstress yourself about this. Take a few files at a time and slowly work your way through organizing all your files.
We want to accomplish two things as we move forward in getting this organized.
The first thing is to create a file for each document. If you are using a computer for this you will have an electronic file. Your documents will need to be scanned and stored under that document’s file. If the type of document requires an original you will have to file that piece of paper. If you are using the manual method, you will create a file folder for each file.
The second thing we will do is start to establish the organizer that will contain all the information of where each document can be found.
Let’s start out with creating the files in your home filing system.
I suggest you start out doing one category completely. Let’s get started with personal documents. You have all those documents in a pile separated from the asset, liabilities and insurance papers. Let’s take the first personal file you pick up. Let’s say it is a birth certificate.
Computer filing system
If you are creating a document organizer on a computer system, you need to have a folder called Home Filing System.
In that you will have a folder called Personal files. In the personal files you will have a file called birth certificates.
Scan your birth certificate and file it in that folder. Make a note in the folder where the original is located (i.e. the original birth certificate for John Doe is located in the first drawer of the file cabinet in the office).
Now take the birth certificate, make a physical file called birth certificates, and file it in the location that was noted. If you have more than one (such as those for children), do it again.
When you get through all the personal files you will now work on the finance part of the document organizer.
Start out with the first record in your pile. Let’s say it is a bank account statement. Do the exact same thing you did with the birth certificate. When you get done with all the assets, move on to the liabilities. Finally organize all your insurance.
Manual filing system
If you are using a manual system you will have four dividers in some sort of document organizer and that will manage your home filing system.
The first section will be personal records. The first page under personal records will be birth certificates (this page can be notebook paper, typing paper, anything you want to use). You will make a note where the birth certificate is located (i.e. the original birth certificate for John Doe is located in the first drawer of the file cabinet in the office).
You will then make a file folder that says birth certificate and file it (as in my example) in the first drawer of the file cabinet. If you have more than one, do it again.
Now go to the second file. Say it is a marriage license. Do the same thing you did for the birth certificates.
When you get through all the personal files you will now start on the finance part of the document organizer. Start out with the first record in your pile. Let’s say it is a bank account statement. Do the exact same thing you did with the birth certificate.
When you get done with all the assets, move on to the liabilities. Finally organize all your insurance.
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Once you have completed this you will have all your files in order. Doesn’t that feel good?!?!?!?
You have created a document organizer or a household notebook. Be sure to take care of this notebook. There are several things you need to do with this notebook. Read this to learn more about your document organizer and/or household notebook.
Once you have all this done, you will be thinking about how long do you have to keep these records. Be sure to visit our Record Retention Guide to get help on how long to keep these records and how to store them.
There you have it! It is so easy to do and painless. Work your way through all your files doing the exact same thing as outlined above.